April 16th is National Stress Reduction Day.
Did you know?
- Stress has been called the "silent killer" and can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, chest pain and an irregular heartbeat.
- Stress is linked to the top 6 causes of death: heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, liver cirrhosis and suicide.
- Stress can cause hair loss (not turn hair gray).
- Stress can cause erectile dysfunction and infertility problems.
- Stress can make acne worse.
- Stress causes abdominal fat to accumulate and also enlarges the individual fat cells.
- Stress increases your risk of stroke substantially.
- Stress increases inflammation in the body.
- Stress is a cause of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
- Chronic stress can damage, shrink and even kill brain cells. (Stress makes you stupid.)
- Stress affects the immune system's ability to fight infection.
- Stress is linked to sleeping disorders.
- Stress is linked to depression.
How can you manage your stress and improve your well-being?
- Identify the source(s) of your stress - Try to solve the problem that is causing you stress, or learn to cope with it positively. Don't avoid, deny, or withdraw from the problem, because it will continue to exist and affect you.
- Access social support - Talk to someone you trust, whether it be a friend, spouse, family member, or counselor. Social support has been found to reduce stress and improve mental and physical well-being.
- Learn and practice relaxation techniques -
Take the time to slow down and relax. Relaxation techniques such as
deep breathing, meditation, visualization, and yoga reduce stress and
- Be physically active - Exercise reduces stress and improves health and well-being. Do something that you enjoy doing (like walking, jogging, swimming, biking, yoga, or playing the Wii) and you will reap the stress-reducing benefits immediately.
- Get enough sleep - Sleep helps the body to repair itself and reduces stress. A lack of sleep can give you more stress.
- Balance your time - Time management skills can help you find balance, order, and control in your life - all of which reduce stress. Procrastination increases stress.
- Don't use drugs or alcohol -
Drugs temporarily numb you to stress, but in the long term they
undermine health, well-being, and can worsen stressful problems, rather
than fixing them.
- Avoid caffeine & energy drinks - Stimulants keep the body from relaxing and can overtax your body. It is also important to know that you can overdose on caffeine!